Friday, June 17, 2011

Faith and the Holy Spirit

Faith, do you have it; is it growing? We've been talking about faith for the last few weeks. From believing, trusting, remembering and also continued remembering. So, how do we know that we have faith in God? We sometimes get asked about when one accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, is that when we know? Some deep questions! So here will come some short answers, that will also go along with our discussion of faith. Guess this will have to be a 2 page devotional. We know we have faith, believe... born again, are part of the family of God... are a Christian; when our spirit comes alive. That is when our spirit comes alive, through Christ Jesus and at the same time when His Spirit abides(dwells) in us. Here are 2 set of verses to help us understand this; Eph. 2:1-4&5 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sin, ---But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." Let me throw in one side note and verse, James 2:26 "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." Yes, we all were dead before our acceptance of Jesus Christ, even though we were still walking around. Remember Pastor Paul's diagram of what makes up man? The 3 parts, body, mind and spirit. Well that is the spirit that we are talking about; it is dead before our acceptance... of Jesus Christ. Back to our next set of verses 1John 4:13 "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit." So this verse answer the question above. If you were like me this verse was hard to realize; it still left me with the deeper question of how does one really know He has the Spirit of God? What does one experience...?
The first thing one can experience is found in John 16:8 "And He, when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." That "He" is the Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard that voice within, saying you should not do that or this, because it is "bad"? Or when you are deciding to do something good, do you hear the voice within say yes do it? Now for judgment, let's just leave that for now. It is easy for children to understand this principle, but as adults some times over time our hearts become harden to the voice of God; that time thing again. We need to come to God as children, trusting children, and believing children. Then this verse will become more prominent in one's life.
The next thing one can notice is that the Word of God starts to make sense. It starts to have begin to understand it. Be it from reading or hearing it preached. 1Cor.2:12-14 " Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritual appraised(examined)." Now these first 2 can be used of God before one is a Christian, example would be God open ones heart to hear the gospel for the first time.
There is also the giving of one's spiritual gift, 1Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift..." Now I will not talk about this aspect in this devotion but it is also part of the answer to our question.
Now the last thing we are are going to talk about is found in Gal.5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control against such things are no law." The fruits of the Spirit will start to be more and more evident in one's life. That these traits will start to take on a newer meaning, a higher meaning...and one will start manifesting these traits in a renewed way. That these traits that one knew about before being a Christian, now are more desirable to the fullest extent. That one desires each trait more and more; that one strives to learn and comprehend these traits. But most important is that one begins to do these traits more and more. Somehow over time they become more natural; not to say we ever attain perfection in these areas, but we are always growing in them.